On December 23, 2017 about 300 farmers from seventeen townships gathered in Tang Yan township, northern Shan State calling for a halt to the Naung Pha dam and other hydropower projects on the Salween River.
During December 21-22, 2017, about 300 people from Tang Yan, Lashio, Hsenwi, Ho Pang, Kut Khai, Hsipaw, Kyaukme, Nam Kham, Lai Kha, Kesee, Mong Nai, Nam Sang, Keng Tung, Tar Ler, Mong Khark, Mong Noong and Mong Yawng, townships from northern, southern and eastern Shan State held an annual meeting at Huay Keing temple in Huay Keing village tract, Tang Yan township, northern Shan State.
Many difficulties of farmers such as land grabbing, coal mining, gold mining, and the impacts of hydropower projects on Salween River were discussed at Wat Huay Keing temple by farmers from different parts of Shan State. An annual ceremony was held at Wat Ho Mang temple, in Ho Mang village tract, Tang Yan township, northern Shan State on December 23, 2017, at which the participants called for all hydropower projects on the Salween River to be stopped.
Sai Pa, one of the local organisers, said: “If the Naung Pha dam is built, our Tang Yan people will be directly affected. That’s why we are organizing the public gathering, so that we farmers can raise our concerns and find solutions. We’re calling on all Shan State people to preserve and protect our natural resources. We should oppose all the dam projects on the Salween River”.
Sai Thum Ai, another leading organizer, said: “The government should listen to the voice of the people, and help stop the Naung Pha and other dams on the Salween river, which have no benefit for local people, Shan State or the union, but just benefit foreign investors – China and Thailand. Local people will just lose their land, face natural disasters and have to relocate.”
Currently, there are five hydropower projects being planned on the Salween River: one in Karen State, one in Karenni State and three in Shan State, including the Naung Pha dam.
The Naung Pha dam is being planned by China’s state-owned Hydrochina Corporation. It lies in an active conflict area. East of the dam site lies the territory of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and west of it and the projected reservoir area, the Burma Army and its militias are carrying out offensives against ethnic armed groups including the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) to seize control of their areas and local natural resources. None of these groups signed the so called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA).
If built, 90% of the 1,200 electric megawatts from the Naung Pha dam will be exported to China, and local people in Burma will have no benefit but will suffer all the impacts, including risk of dam breakage.
Sai Pa (Tang Yan) +95 (0) 940-376-7836
Nang Noan Hom +95 (0) 979-298-9714 +95 (0) 942-540-8831
Sai Kong Hseng +66 (0) 62-941-9600